Paradise of the Blind Criticism

D??ng Thu H??ng
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Paradise of the Blind was a huge success in Vietnam when first published in 1988. Forty thousand copies were sold before the authorities banned the novel for its critical attitude toward the communist government and its revelations of the disillusionment felt by ordinary Vietnamese with the system under which they lived.

In 1993, as the first novel by a Vietnamese writer to be published in the United States, Paradise of the Blind received respectful and enthusiastic reviews. For a New Yorker reviewer, Duong “fashions a vivid portrait that details unfamiliar vistas of Vietnamese life as finely as it evokes the dilemmas of adolescence.” In similar vein, Publishers Weekly noted: “Contrasts between young, old, urban and rural, help to convey the full variety of Vietnamese lifestyles.”

Several reviewers commented on the strong characterization of the two female characters, Que and Aunt Tam. Jonathan Mirsky, in the New York Review of Books...

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